Columbus, OH (PRWEB) November 21, 2007
In a press conference today, The Ohio Election Justice Campaign (OEJC) is calling for the recall, return, and refund of voting systems used in Ohio, the state that clinches presidential elections. Representatives from Boards of Elections (BOE) plagued by election irregularities, such as failing to preserve their 2004 ballots in violation of federal court order, are now sitting in review of the state's electronic elections systems, courtesy of a lobbyist.
According to the Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's answers to the State Controlling Board, which approved $1.8 million in Help America Vote (HAVA) funds to review Ohio's elections systems, the final recommendations will be the "responsibility of the Secretary of State's Office working with a representative group of the state's election officials."
Brunner's letter to this same board, dated Sept. 20, 2007, states, "The list (of election officials) was compiled with Aaron Ockerman who met with me this morning and suggested the names of those to be involved."
Aaron Ockerman, of State Street Consultants, is a registered lobbyist for the Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO), a corporation that promotes the business interests of Ohio election officials. He was a registered lobbyist for Election Systems & Software, ES&S, (ESS) in 2003.
Neil S. Clark and Paul Tipps, founders of State Street Consultants, were registered lobbyists for ES&S, 2002-04, and for Diebold (DB), 2004 and 2005. Clark is currently a registered OAEO lobbyist.
Ockerman, also a registered lobbyist for ACS (ACS) State and Local Solutions, Inc., formerly Lockheed (LMT) Martin IMS, co-hosted a reception for the Ohio SOS and others during the winter 2007 OAEO conference.
Of the twelve election officials, nine come from BOEs that disposed of 2004 election records protected by court order in King Lincoln v. Blackwell (S.D. Ohio), http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/litigation/klbna.php, four of the nine serving as BOE Director in 2004. Two of the nine disposed of their records before certification of the 2004 election; and another three have not submitted the requested explanation to the SOS for their missing records.
As of this date, almost half come from counties with various alleged recount irregularities, and one from a county with alleged voter suppression, King Lincoln v. Blackwell (S.D.Ohio). Although Ohio does have many BOEs secure from these problems, only two are represented on the list.
HAVA earmarked $3.9 billion in tax payer money to implement electronic voting systems. Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) co-authored HAVA, meeting with lobbyist Jack Abramoff during its drafting. Ney and Abramoff are now serving prison terms for convictions related to bribery and corruption of public officials, respectively.
The electronic elections systems have been widely documented as unreliable, inaccurate, and subject to manipulation. California decertified its electronic voting machines, Florida tossed them out, and New York has not even introduced them.
Lawsuits alleging breach of warranty, Lehto v. Sequoia (King County, Washington) and Axelrod v. Sequoia (Washoe County, Nevada), have been filed in state court. A complaint naming the Ohio SOS was filed in U.S. District Court, Schulz v. State of New York (N.D.N.Y.), seeking an injunction until elections are open, verifiable, and transparent.